Anna Elisabeth Howard writes highly caffeinated takes on shalom as a lens for everything from her front porch in Hendersonville, TN where she lives with her husband and two sons and a small menagerie of critters. She is a community organizer and movement chaplain with a background in youth and family ministry and is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. An avid hiker and backpacker, many thoughts start somewhere in the middle of the woods, or under a waterfall. 

Find her most recent writing on Red Letter Christians, Earth and AltarMedium, and via her newsletter on Substack.

What is Shalom?

Shalom is an idea that has thoroughly gripped my imagination over the past few years. Often mistranslated as a simple “peace,” shalom goes far beyond this especially as “peace” is often translated as merely an “absence of conflict.” This is in reality, not peace at all, as it only benefits those already in power and prevents their lives and holding of that power from being disruptive. 

Shalom means total thriving and well-being for everyone. If you think about it, achieving this “peace” will be very disruptive to those in authority, those in power, as this peace cannot rest until everyone is thriving whole-heartedly. Because when “the least of these” is thriving, all of us will be thriving. Shalom is a kingdom of God peace, a way of putting feet to when we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”